A piggery is one of the more traditional businesses you can find in predominantly agricultural areas in the provinces. Some families initially raise pigs in their backyard as a source of food. But eventually, they end up expanding the facility or venture to larger areas to start a full blown piggery business.
One of the reasons why a piggery is a viable business idea is because Filipinos love to eat meat and pork is our primary staple.
According to a study by United Kingdom research firm Chatham House, the Philippines ranks among the top 10 meat consumers in the world. The United States and the United Kingdom lead the world at 115kg and 80kg per person per year respectively.
On the other hand, the average Filipino eats 35kgs of meat per year. Of the 35kg, 15kg is from pork. In terms of livestock production, pork accounts for 60% of the industry with chicken coming in second at 27%.
Why do Filipinos prefer pork over other sources of meat?
- It’s affordable.
- It has a pleasant taste; comparable to chicken.
- Pork can be cooked and prepared in many ways.
Not many people know that pork can be healthy depending on the cut and how it is prepared. Unlike steak where the fat resides in the meat, with pork the fat is located outside. Cook the meat with the fat on to ensure juiciness then slice it off before eating.
Roasted pork loin, grilled Butterfly pork chops and ground pork as chili con carne can be prepared and served in a healthy manner. And they will not break the budget.
In fact, a growing segment of the piggery business is raising native pigs which are healthier because the cholesterol count of the meat is significantly lower than commercially grown pigs.
The livestock industry continues to grow by a modest 3.25% or 61 Billion Pesos. Of this figure, piggeries accounted for the highest contribution at 3.76%.
Business Risks of a Piggery Business
1. Vulnerability to Diseases – Over the years, we’ve read stories of people getting sick or afflicted with certain conditions after eating pork. Many pigs were slaughtered to prevent further contamination of livestock. Pigs are vulnerable to diseases which could be a consequence of the following:
- Unsanitary farming conditions
- Contaminated feed
- Co-mingling with pigs from other sources during transportation
You will have to factor in contingencies in the budget that will prevent your pigs from getting infected and sick or reducing the risks of an outbreak.
2. Inclement Weather – In 2015, Typhoon Lando destroyed 517,000 Pesos worth of livestock in Ilocos, the Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon and the Cordillera regions.
It is very important that the pens are constructed from a sturdy concrete material. You should also install efficient drainage systems to keep water from overflowing.
3. High Cost of Feeds – Regular and systematic feeding schedules are important to ensure the size and quality of the pig. But an increase in the prices of feed can seriously impact your profit margins. As a matter of fact, in 2013 62,000 tons of pork was imported from the US and Canada because locally grown commercial pigs became too expensive.
These risks are very real in the Philippines which is a net importer and has unpredictable weather.
As contingencies, make sure you have a veterinarian on duty at your piggery. It may add to your monthly budget but consider the veterinarian as insurance versus diseases.
To manage your costs on feeds, you can try to source cassava, camote, corn and corn by- products that have been discarded from nearby farms or slaughterhouses as options. But make sure these items are properly cleaned and thoroughly cooked before feeding to the pigs.
Determining Your Business Set Up
There are two ways you can go about in setting up the piggery.
First is by acquiring starter pigs or adopting a grow- out system. In this setup, you acquire the pigs when they are young; around 12 to 20 kg in weight. Through a consistent feeding cycle, you grew the pigs until they reach 90kg before selling them.
A young starter pig can cost around 1,600 to 2,000 Pesos. It will take approximately three months of feedings before the pig can be sold.
The second approach is by breeding the pigs. You will have to acquire the sow which usually costs around 12,000 Pesos. It will take the sow 4 to 6 months to give birth.
Between the two approaches, acquiring the starter pigs is more popular because the time period from feeding to market is much shorter. With pig breeding, it will take you almost a year before you can start selling the pigs.
Another advantage of the grow out system over pig breeding is that you incur fewer expenses in hiring specialized labor in managing the sow and the newborn piglets. The risks due to business losses are also less with the grow out system compared to pig breeding because there are fewer investments in infrastructure and equipment.
The key to succeeding in a grow out system is timing the sale of the pigs. Farm gate prices usually rise during the months of November to February. With this in mind, you should buy the starter pigs beginning August.
Business Requirements for a Piggery
If you are interested in setting up a piggery, here are the requirements you need to submit to legalize your operations:
- Business Name Registration – You will have to register your business name with the Department of Trade and Industry provincial office where your proposed piggery is located. Your business name will be valid for up to 5 years.
- Barangay Clearance – Visit the barangay office where you plan to set up the piggery business.
- Mayor’s Permit and License and Sanitary Permit – You can secure this from the local government. Your license and permit have to be renewed every year.
- Tax Identification Number (TIN) – Visit the office of the local Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) office in the province.
- Environmental Compliance Certificate – A piggery carries potential risks to the environment. There will be guidelines that you will have to comply with strictly. You can get the ECC from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) which is located at Visayas Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City.
Related: 5 Essential Business Permits and Licenses in the Philippines
Location Requirements of a Piggery Business
Back in 1995 as I was driving along EDSA at around 9:00 pm, I noticed there was a horrible stench permeating the interior of my car. I had the windows up, but the smell was nauseating.
I noticed in front of me was a six wheeler that was pouring liquid on EDSA. People were honking their cars and cursing at the people who continued to pour the liquid without hesitation.
By the time I got home at 11 pm, the smell had become overbearing. Everyone in the house could smell it even with the doors and windows closed.
The following morning, the sun revealed the car’s underside was covered with discarded pig parts and fluids which the car cleaning company said were composed of urine, feces, and blood. According to the cleaners, mine was not the first car they serviced that morning.
The 6 pm news revealed that police arrested the owners of a piggery that dumped the nasty fluids along EDSA the night before. Apparently, the truck was stopped by the police along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City.
A piggery is a good business, but it carries environmental risks. Waste disposal is of paramount importance and the ensuring the cleanliness of the pens will protect the pigs from getting sick or infected with communicable diseases.
When it comes to a piggery business, location is not enough. It must be situated in an area which complies with environmental guidelines:
- The piggery must be located outside the proximity of urban areas.
- The piggery must be located at least within a 25-meter radius from sources of ground or surface drinking water.
- Medium and large scale piggeries must be located at least 1,000 meters away from residential, industrial, institutional and commercial areas.
- Dry lot area should have the following specifications:
- 86m – 2.79m per sow
- 74m – 1.12m per head of pig under 100 pounds
- 12m – 1.86m per head of fattening pig from 100 to 200 pounds
- 32m – 3.25m per boar
It would be a plus factor if the location has a slight slope or incline to minimize the risks of flooding.
Constructing Housing for the Pigs
My dad’s driver, Greg, got into the piggery business in early 2000. In addition to being a good driver, Greg was a wonderful guy. I was working in my dad’s ship- staffing agency back then and every Christmas, Greg would contribute a roasted pig or lechon during the staff party.
I think it was in 2006 that Greg lost his piggery when a strong typhoon ripped through his province, destroyed the pens and drowned all the pigs. Although Greg recovered his investment, it was such a horrible experience that he never went back to the business again.
Construction of housing for the pigs is very important. You have to make sure the pens are stable, sturdy and regularly sanitized. It is strongly suggested that you use concrete flooring for easy cleaning. Pigs are highly susceptible to diseases and parasites.
You should have an area in the pen that you can use to isolate pigs that have been infected with contagious bacteria. With regards to contamination, only buy pigs that have been immunized for hog cholera and swine plague.
If you decide to go with concrete, make sure these are not too rough, or it may lead to foot injuries and expose the pigs to bacterial contamination. The concrete must not be too smooth that the pigs are constantly slipping and sliding.
If your area is prone to typhoons, you should be prepared to invest in a strong shelter for the pigs. There must be adequate drainage, and the pens should be located in a slightly sloping area to reduce the risk of flooding.
For small scale operations, pens made of bamboo or nipa may be used, but you should implement a regular cleaning schedule.
The pig houses must be fitted with feeders and drinking troughs. Although some piggery owners use old, used automobile tires, it is better to make them out of concrete.
Feeding the Pigs
You have 3 to 4 months to get the piglets to grow to marketable size. It is very important to use a high-quality feed to ensure the health and safety of the meat and by-products.
Here is a typical feeding schedule for a grow out piggery system:
- Start feeding the piglets with high-quality pre- starter ration at one week of age. The ration changes at different growth stages but it should be done at a gradual pace to allow for a natural transition in the feeding behavior of the pigs. Usually, a one- week transition would suffice.
- A starter ration is given when the pigs are at two months of age and weight comes in between 10 and 25kg.
- The grower ration is for pigs that are at 30 to 35kg and until they reach 15 to 20 weeks old.
- A finisher ration is given when the pigs reach 60kg or around 20 weeks old.
- A ration should always include sufficient amounts of carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and minerals.
- Always provide the pigs with clean drinking water.
There are some commercial operators of piggeries that use dry feeding to streamline labor and feeding equipment costs. Backyard operators prefer wet feeding.
Environmental Factors and Issues with the Piggery Business
Before starting a piggery, you should understand the business carries serious implications on the environment.
Gas emissions and waste products could compromise surface and ground water quality and safety. It is also an enterprise which elicits unpleasant odors which could be bothersome to nearby residential areas.
You should have sound manure management policies and practices in place to ensure proper disposal of waste and control of gas emissions. Among the gasses produced by a piggery business include ammonia, carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide.
Carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide have been identified as contributors to global warming.
Some studies contend the increasing scale of livestock enterprises the last few years have accelerated adverse environmental conditions. To address the situation, technology has been developing ways to convert waste products into useful products such as biogas fertilizers.
For now, however, you should ensure top level management of waste disposal procedures and institute measures to contain gas and foul odor emissions.
Managing a pig pen will require you to routinely go through a checklist of things that need to get done. If you cannot be there full- time, hire someone you can trust to manage the piggery. But you should make your presence felt at the piggery as often as you can.
Recommended Read: Top 15 Small Business Tips in the Philippines for 2017
Another concern for piggery business owners is the incidence of theft. Conduct an inventory of your pigs, feed, and other supplies and emphasize accountability to everyone who works in the piggery.
But if you can get the right location to support operations and take all the necessary precautions to ensure the health of the pigs, a piggery business could be a long- term, financially- rewarding enterprise for you.